Home Builder Brevard County: Navigating the Residential Pre-Construction Process

One of custom homebuilding’s unique joys is the ability to watch the house progress through the various construction phases. From a vacant lot to a finished house, many homeowners enjoy being involved in the process. Afterall, a custom home is meant to be one’s dream home, suited to every particular need or preference. However, unless a homeowner practices a trade or works in the industry, they may not be familiar with what takes place over the lifespan of the project. To better understand the entirety of the residential process, we’ll break the job down into phases.

Navigating Plan Approval with Local Governments

Construction does not start until the appropriate governing agency approves the plan set. DiPrima Custom Homes is currently building in several locations, but predominantly in two neighborhoods: Casa Bella and Laguna Village. We work with Brevard County to approve the plans and issue a permit in Casa Bella, while we work with the City of Melbourne in Laguna Village. Both locations have Melbourne ZIP Codes, but Casa Bella is unincorporated and thus governed by Brevard.

Understanding Preconstruction: The Foundation of Your Dream Home

Everything before construction starts is referred to as “preconstruction,” or “precon” for short. Preconstruction encompasses all that is necessary to arrive at a completed set of plans that meet the local codes and requirements. Potential clients meet with our office to discuss what they’d like to build. Location and lot are critical here, as it dictates what we’re able to construct. In Laguna Village, a community built entirely by DiPrima, we offer five floor plans that clients are able to select from and modify. In other communities, or on the client’s own lot, the client has the freedom to create a truly custom floor plan so long as it obeys particular regulations, like easements. After determining what’s possible per the lot, the client sits with a draftsman and creates a plan that matches their lifestyle. This allows clients to truly customize their home, moving rooms, adding a garage, designing the front elevation, or anything else they’d like to include or alter.

Estimation and Proposal: Tailoring Your Home to Budget and Preferences

When we have a rough idea of what the client would like to build, our office creates an estimate and packs it into a proposal. The estimate splits the entirety of the project into line items, attempting to account for every dollar spent, from paint to plumbing. Included in the estimate are allowance items, like landscaping and tile. Allowance items permit the client to go over budget and pay the difference, or under budget and receive a credit. This provides the client the freedom to make selections as they please.

Contracts and Pricing Models: Ensuring Financial Clarity

If the proposal is agreeable and within the client’s budget, we proceed to draft and sign a contract. Most of our contracts are lump-sum, as opposed to cost-plus. Lump-sum contracts work well with most residential projects and minimize the risk for our clients, as the number in the contract remains the same and will not fluctuate. Builders must be comfortable and near-certain of the project’s estimated cost. On the other hand, cost-plus contracts work well for very extravagant and custom projects as it protects the builder from uncertainty and allows the client to make changes as they wish. Simply put, cost-plus is a contract where the client pays for the cost of the project plus a fee to the general contractor, often a percentage of the project’s cost.

Finalizing Plans and Making Selections: The Blueprint of Your Future Home

Once signed, clients must sit down and refine their plans with a draftsman, ultimately creating the floor plan that we submit for approval. Any major changes to the plans after they’re approved requires resubmittal and is often a lengthy process that may take weeks. At the same time, clients will work with the designer to make the selections for their home. Selections are the client’s personal choices like tile layout, shingle color, paint finishes, drywall texture, light fixtures, and so on. There are dozens of decisions to be made, some of which must be submitted within weeks after signing. For example, windows or exterior doors may take upwards of a month to manufacture, and the sooner we submit the order the sooner we can proceed with construction.

Procurement and Subcontractor Selection: Building a Quality Team

We then begin procurement, where we send requests for our subcontractors and material providers to bid and provide quotes for the work. DiPrima Custom Homes often works with the same subcontractors and suppliers on every project. Knowing who is qualified to complete the task at hand is a major obstacle in construction. With over sixty years of experience in Brevard, DiPrima has established long-lasting relationships with many of our industry partners. We know what we can expect and have a general idea as to how much it will cost. After sorting through our subcontractor’s proposals, we begin assigning the work. A few of these contracts are crucial for the permit application. The mechanical, electrical, plumbing, roofing, and truss contractors all provide diagrams and documentation that must be reviewed prior to permit approval.

Permit Acquisition and Preconstruction Completion: Setting the Stage for Construction

When our office receives the permit from Melbourne, Brevard County, or any of the other local jurisdictions, we can start work in the field. The entire preconstruction process often spans months as it involves many homeowner decisions, input from engineers, documentation from our subcontractors, and time for government review. While it isn’t always as exciting as construction, it is extremely crucial to thoroughly execute preconstruction before the real fun begins.

Share This
Skip to content